On September 13, 1985, Super Mario Bros. was released in Japan. Although I wouldn’t experience the game until 2 years later, the 25th anniversary of one of video gaming’s most iconic characters is an event that recalls one of the most significant events in my childhood.
When I turned 5 years old in June of 1988, my parents bought me a Nintendo Entertainment System that came with a Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt/World Class Track Meet combo cartridge, the Power Pad, and the Zapper. I played that thing for hours on end, although I can’t recall if I ever beat Super Mario Bros. on an original NES. I’ve certainly finished the game on subsequent releases on other platforms. When relatives came in to visit, we’d stand only inches in front of the television to make sure we shot all of the birds in Duck Hunt. We cheated. And when I figured out that literally jumping off of the Power Pad could greatly improve my long jump time in World Class Track Meet, I thought I was a genius.
I’ve called my parents’ purchase of the NES and Super Mario Bros. one of the worst financial decisions they’ve ever made. And while that statement is certainly full of hyperbole, it’s not without merit. That purchase led to countless others. I collected new Nintendo consoles as they were released, expanding to Sega, Sony, and Microsoft later on. I even went back and purchased consoles that were released before I was born. Just recently, I finally tracked down a Virtual Boy (complete in box) and nabbed it for $130.
Today, my video game collection totals upwards of 1100 games. The overwhelming majority of my games are on Nintendo systems, and a large chunk of those are games with Mario in the title. All because of that first Super Mario Bros. game. Congratulations and thanks, Nintendo. Well done.